Trojan men will have new identity
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on October 29, 2010 1:46 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Joey Higginbotham introduced his team to the fans at Kornegay Arena on Thursday night.
Two names were noticeably absent.
Graduation took Mount Olive College's all-time leading scorer Kendrick Easley and his second in command last season Mike Holloman. Higginbotham began his search for a new set of leaders with the annual Green-White exhibition game.
"This is a completely different team with a very different identity and a different set of goals," said Higginbotham. "We are not going to replace a guy like Easley with one player, so we have to learn to produce as a team."
The Trojan offense looked fine on Thursday night as the White squad claimed a 47-46 victory in the mock game that featured two 12-minute halves. Assistant coach Eric Gabriel directed the White squad, while assistant Kevin Hammack coached the Green team.
Brandon Allen emerged as the game's leading scorer for the White squad with 16 points. Deshaune Green was the only other White player in double figures with 11.
"Those are two guys that we are going to need," said Higginbotham. "Brandon is going to have to knock down shots in our offense and Deshaune is a kid that is battling for a starting job at forward. Tonight (Green) did a good job finishing under the basket and hitting the boards."
Point guard Derek Staton led the Green team, which actually donned black jerseys, with 14 points and five assists. Staton was one half of the contests' most intriguing battle as he was shadowed by true freshman Dory Hines.
Hines, a Kinston High School graduate, scored three points, but he handed out six assists and grabbed six rebounds.
"Derek is our motor and he is our leader," said Higginbotham. "Dory is a guy that is going to help us because he can play either guard spot and he is an excellent passer."
With the season opener slated for Nov. 15 against Lenoir-Rhyne, there are still plenty of kinks that Higginbotham and his staff need to work out. Turnovers and poor foul shooting each presented themselves on Thursday night.
Higginbotham attributed that to inexperience.
"Our guys are like sponges right now, especially the young guys," Higginbotham said. "Right now we have no idea how to play at this level but it's something that we are going to learn. The question is how fast can we learn it."
Mount Olive will play host to the 45th annual Pickle Classic on Nov. 19-20. The Trojans will open Conference Carolinas play on Nov. 30 at archrival Barton College.